BEIRUT – The Lebanese army on Thursday discovered more than 4 tons of ammonium nitrate near the port of Beirut, a discovery reminiscent of the appalling explosion a month ago that killed 191 people.
According to the military, military experts were called in for an inspection and found 4.35 tons of the dangerous chemical in four containers stored near the port. There were no details of the origin of the chemicals or their owner,
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The discovery comes almost exactly one month after nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut for six years exploded, causing death and destruction.
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With 191 people killed, more than 6,000 were injured and entire neighborhoods were devastated. The explosion left nearly 300,000 people homeless and caused damage worth billions of dollars.
The military statement said customs officials called the military to inspect the containers at a facility near the port, where they found 4.35 tons of ammonium nitrate. He said army experts “were dealing with the material,” an apparent reference to the destruction.
Days after the August 4 explosion, French and Italian chemical experts working among the remains of the port identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals. The military later said those containers had been moved and safely stored in locations far from the port.
French experts as well as the FBI participated in the investigation into the explosion of August 4, at the request of the Lebanese authorities. Their findings have not yet been published.
Authorities have so far arrested 25 people in last month’s explosion, most of them port and customs officials.